Are You at Risk for Developing Macular Degeneration?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration, (AMD), is a progressive eye disease that is one of the leading causes of vision loss in adults over age 50. The macula is the small area in the center of the retina that is responsible for central vision, sharp detail and ability to perceive color.
Though it does not cause complete blindness, AMD affects the ability to see objects straight ahead in the center of vision. It can affect daily activities such as driving a car, watching TV, reading, recognizing faces and other activities that require fine detail. Because peripheral vision is typically not affected, people with AMD are often able to maintain their independence and perform most household chores.
Who’s at risk and is there a cure? Although the exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, there are certain factors that put you at a higher risk of developing this disease.
Nine Risk Factors for Developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration:
Age 50 and over – Age is the single largest risk factor for developing AMD.
Family History – Aside from age, studies show family history of AMD increases your risk by 50%
Gender – Females are at higher risk of developing AMD; there appears to be a link between onset of menopause and macular degeneration. Also, women tend to live longer, increasing the odds that they will develop AMD in their lifetime.
Light Eyes, Light Skin – Caucasians are at higher risk of developing AMD; there is a link between the amount of pigment a person has in their skin and developing macular degeneration. Subsequently, people with lighter colored eyes are at higher risk than people with a darker pigmented eye color.
Sun Exposure – Spending a lot of time outdoors without adequate protection from the sun appears to cause AMD to progress more rapidly and can cause the disease to be more severe than those who have limited sun exposure.
Smoking – Studies show that if you smoke, your chance of developing macular degeneration almost doubles. Other than taking precautions to reduce sun exposure, smoking is the one thing that you have control over to reduce your risk.
Body Mass Index – High BMI or being overweight not only increases your chance of developing AMD, it increases your risk of developing a more severe form of the disease.
Poor Diet – People who include higher levels of antioxidant vitamins A, C & E, along with zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin may decrease the likelihood of developing AMD as well as other eye disease.
High Blood Pressure/Heart Disease – The eye has a rich supply of blood vessels; therefore, changes in blood pressure can impact your eye health as well. Patients who have hypertension or other cardiovascular disease are at higher risk of developing AMD.
Mulqueeny Eye Centers offers complete eye health examinations to people of all ages. As a part of your comprehensive eye examination, we may suggest a macular degeneration risk analysis based on the risk factors listed above.
Early detection and prevention is the key to maintaining a lifetime of good vision!
Eye Care, Eye Doctor, Macular Degeneration, Vitamins And Supplements, Q Eye Test